6 games to play if you like Animal Crossing 

No matter what you loved about Animal Crossing, there's a game on this list for you.
animal crossing

Animal Crossing is such a unique brand of cosy game. It’s a franchise that exists purely for vibes, or – if you’re neck-deep in the fandom – maniacal terraforming, middle of the night island revamps, and stock market crash courses taught mostly on subreddits.

There are literally so many reasons people gravitate to this series, and exploring adjacent games is really dependent on why you like Animal Crossing. Whether you’re a five-star island hunter set on fulfilling the most complex of interior design projects, or just keen on sharing wholesome villager interactions and creating your own fun, this list will have a few suggestions to suit different play-styles. 

Animal Crossing: New Horizons could not have been released at a more appropriate time, and we’re all just trying to recapture some of those initial blissful days spent yearning to pull weeds and pawn everything that isn’t bolted to the floor. Here are six games to play if you like Animal Crossing.

Read: Animal Crossing: New Horizons — a retrospective at the end of the road

Hello Kitty Island Adventure

hello kitty island adventure
Image: Sunblink

Fans of Nintendo’s free-to-play mobile instalment Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp will be hard pressed not to resonate with the wondrous world of Hello Kitty Island Adventure

Its colourful, stylised aesthetic creates a charming backdrop as you and the Sanrio cast work to restore Big Adventures Park back to its former glory. While vacationing, you’ll grow your friendships, endlessly craft, and uncover mysteries scattered across the landscape. 

Hello Kitty Island Adventure has also received a steady stream of content and seasonal updates since its initial release, and it’s definitely one to keep on your radar if you’re an avid Apple Arcade subscriber. Its fifth major content update has introduced a new region for players to discover, Merry Meadow, as well as a new adorable character to meet and greet with: Wish me mell.

A Short Hike 

a short hike game length video games
Image: A Short Hike / Adamgryu

A Short Hike is an intimate narrative adventure game that you can easily finish in a relaxing afternoon. You play as Claire, a young bird journeying to Hawk Peak Provincial Parks’ mountain summit in search of cell phone reception. 

Along the way you’ll encounter local townsfolk, fulfilling their requests, while collecting enough feathers to eventually climb to the peak of the mountain. These interactions in A Short Hike are reminiscent of a top down version of Lil Gator Game, in that each request is achievable, lets you familiarise yourself with the park’s quaint settings, and the overall vibes feel childlike and fun. 

Coffee Talk 

coffee talk episode 2 game releases
Image: Toge Productions

One of the huge strengths of older Animal Crossing instalments like Wild World and City Folk is in their writing. NPC dialogue feels more grounded and humorous, and villager interactions play out in conversational tones. It makes you feel part of the outcome of the conversation, like you had some small influence over it.

Coffee Talk emits a similar feeling, introducing character arcs which could closely resemble those of folks within the games industry, and narrative beats that feel rooted in reality. Coffee Talk plays like a visual novel, blending the skills of drink brewing and latte art with the art of lending an ear. Its cosy lo-fi soundtrack also creates the perfect ambience for your late night cafe happenings.   

You can check out our review of Toge Productions’ sequel Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus & Butterfly for more info on the series. 

Mineko’s Night Market 

Mineko's Night Market
Image: Mewoza Games

There’s a tangible sense of contribution to your community in Mineko’s Night Market. As you get to know each resident and take part in the town’s coveted weekly night market, you’ll start to see a real launch in the value of local endeavours. Your efforts throughout the town will spark others to participate and set up market stalls, and seeing this growth becomes a real motivator to keep sprucing up and uncovering more of the area.

Interactions between Mineko and their Father also give off similar wholesome vibes to letters received from ‘Mom’ in Animal Crossing, and his quips and words of encouragement are nice checkpoints in between crafting and cat liberation quests. 

Stardew Valley

stardew valley update 1.6 features revealed
Image: ConcernedApe

There has long been debate over whether Stardew Valley falls under the ‘cosy game’ archetype, and it could be argued any game that brings you comfort fits that bill. 

Though, it could also be argued that this game is not safe. This is farming under late-stage capitalism. This is the staunch reality of inheriting land and legacy.

Stardew Valley offers plenty of daily farming activities to grant you that feeling of in-game productivity, and a grounded cast of characters to pursue on your romance grind. Promote your relationship status Harvest Moon style by repeatedly gifting Amethysts to your soon-to-be wife until she finds you slightly less weird, and make your Grandfather proud with the gift of a grandchild who literally just sits there. 

The narrative payoffs are honestly well worth the emotional labour, and you will be sure to have a beautifully decorated farm to show off towards your desired endgame. It’s also a great game to play if you’re eagerly awaiting Haunted Chocolatier – the most recent title in development from Stardew Valley publisher Eric Barone, aka ConcernedApe.


spiritfarer game
Image: Thunder Lotus Games

Spiritfarer is a cosy management adventure game about death. In a similar vein to reluctantly accepting a beloved Animal Crossing villager moving away, Spiritfarer gives space to its sad farewells, and reframes loss as a comforting inevitability.

Spiritfarer broaches heavier topics surrounding grief and the afterlife in a palatable, sensitive manner, and invites you to view these themes with a gentle curiosity. As you navigate the high seas you’ll come into contact with a unique bunch of anthropomorphic spirits, and it is your task as the ferrymaster to help them cross over. 

A huge portion of your time will be spent caring for each spirit on board, and small tasks like cooking meals, harvesting crops, and expanding your ship’s living quarters add life to your voyage whilst you chip away at larger quests. 

Emily Shiel is a freelance writer based in Melbourne, Australia who is passionate about all things accessibility, mental health and the indie games scene. You can find her on Twitter at @emi_shiel